Tuesday, August 4, 2009

strini gets tough with the skylight

tom strini, feeling a little more emboldened in his new home at third coast digest, calls the skylight management's bluff:

If management has nothing more than those two lines from a Facebook post to substantiate its claims of threatened violence, it should produce it. If not, it should stop crying wolf.

More recently, management has claimed that some artists are being threatened in that “you’ll never work again in this town” way, should they break ranks and return to their roles in the coming Skylight season. Again, I’ve heard not a peep of this from anyone involved. Again, put up or shut up.
in rebuttal to the "ostracized" suggestion, from tuesdays commenter branch:
I know you all. And if there is one constant in this, it has been your concern, care, and support for your comrades who CONTINUE to work at Skylight, or WILL continue to work at Skylight. The idea that you would "ostracize" your friends over this matter is utterly absurd.
in the same sense of put up or shut up – to any local milwaukee performer who truly felt ostracized by other milwaukee performers during this debacle, don't comment anonymously on this post (as anyone could) – email me.


  1. It is clear that whomever is feeling threatened as an actor is basing their thoughts on an assumption - there are those who may be "new" to the Mlwaukee scene, who may be more used to a bit more judgemental group of peers - or who have felt they had to fight to be part of the "in crowd" - to some an assumed threat is as real as an actual one - and since it is clear that Mr. Dillner lives by that last statement - one wonders if he is simply projecting his fear onto others? We all know that NO ONE is actually being threatened!!

  2. I had a conversation with an artist who is continuing in his role. I tried to show support for this individual, but then saw that he used my words, very much out of context, to illustrate a posed threat. My actual advice was to wait until spring and hope that this had all blown over--then he would be glad he hadn't quit. If it hadn't blown over, I said he would probably be "hearing from (as in getting advice from) a lot of people BUT HE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS OWN HEART AND DO WHAT HE NEEDED TO DO." When quoting me, he said I said "he'd be hearing from a lot people if he quit" (insert threatening tone). I think we all see the difference in the two statements.
    IMO, this is guilt-based reasoning at work. To the performers who choose to stay, I say: If you want to work there, work there. If you feel people will lose respect for you, then that's your issue to weigh into your decision. But don't play the victim--you can't have your cake and eat it too. Don't place the blame on the people who are standing up for what they believe in!

  3. Playing the Victim: The Skylight Opera Theatre Story

    Sounds perfect.

  4. becky:

    to this artists credit, i personally found there to be no threatening tone in the email sent to me. if there was any tone implied, it was likely from the context of the debate at the time, or from me, inadvertently.

    i included this particular email to illustrate a point: for every artist quitting, there are others who would like to but cannot.

    i never felt as though ANY email i received from ANY artist not quitting was placing blame in any way shape or form on artists who had withdrawn their support for the skylight. these folks were simply explaining their own personal situation, and in fact, supporting the artists who were "taking a stand."

    in fact, the particular email you mention ended with this:

    "I cannot--will not--do this production without the people who believed in me more than I ever could. What's the point really? I'm just not announcing it yet.

    I want you to know that there are some of us--the ones in the shadows--still out there 100% behind our friends, but were so very confused, but waiting patiently for the storm to subside."

    seems to me like this person took your original advice to heart.

  5. IMO, any artists who chose to honor their agreements and perform for the new regime do so for their own reasons. I would not presume to judge anyone, especially in the current economic climate.

    Perhaps those who have not chosen to resign can work on the inside to promote the very things we would all like to see at SOT: the return of artistic integrity and leadership; recognition from leadership of the contribution and role of artists; respect for audience members, supporters, and the community; and improved communications regarding decisions and plans.

    Of course, the flip side of the coin is that without solidarity among supporters, it may be a longer road to the above goals ... but I believe we will get there one way or another.

  6. I just saw Strini walking out of the Skylight this morning.


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